Looking for the best Arabica coffee beans? Check out our top picks and a buying guide so you can choose the perfect coffee for you.
Like your coffee smooth and sweet, without any bitterness?
Then 100% Arabica is what you should be after.
But how does one pick the best?
That’s why we’re here today.
After lots of research and even more trial sipping, I’ve made a list of the best Arabica coffee you can find on the market today.
So let’s jump straight in!
Top 11 Arabica Coffee: Our Top Picks
- Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee (Best Overall)
- Jamaican Blue Mountain Peaberry Coffee (Premium Pick)
- Stumptown Hair Bender Coffee (Most Versatile)
- Koa 100% Waialua Estate Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee (Best with Milk)
- Lifeboost Dark Roast Decaf (Best Decaf)
- Volcanica Eterno Espresso Pods (Best Nespresso Pods)
- Illy Arabica Selection Guatemala Whole Bean Coffee (Best Packaging)
- Lavazza Gran Riserva Whole Bean Coffee (Best for Espresso)
- Lifeboost Gingerbread Latte Whole Bean Coffee (Best Flavored)
- Illy Classico Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee (Best Classic Flavor)
- Stumptown Hundred Mile Coffee (Best Breakfast Blend)
Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee
Why is this medium roast by Lifeboost the top pick?
Because we’re not just talking about 100% Arabica beans, but single-origin beans as well. This means that the beans are grown on the same farm in the tropical mountain forests of Nicaragua.
Grown in the shade and at such a high altitude, coffee beans can take their time to mature. And the longer it took, the more flavorful and complex they became. That’s why you can really feel every single tasting note of the coffee beans.
Medium-roasted, these beans make a full-bodied cup of java with round flavors that complement the sweetness. It’s creamy, nutty, and with just a hint of dry fruit notes.
This coffee is low in acidity, which has more to do with bean origin than the actual roast level. You see, Nicaraguan coffee beans are naturally less acidic than other Central American coffees. If you don’t handle crisp coffee very well, then Lifeboost is definitely a good choice for you.
Now, the price tag of this coffee is slightly higher than most picks on this list. But it’s definitely justified, given we’re talking about organic and fair-trade certified coffee beans.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Peaberry Coffee
Ever heard of peaberry coffee?
Typically, two coffee beans grow inside a single cherry on the coffee plant. But in the case of peaberry, there’s only one coffee bean. This mutation causes beans to be smaller but also more complex in flavor. Peaberry coffee has a medium-light body, crisp acidity, and a citrusy and floral aroma.
Beans that grow at high altitudes mature slowly, which causes them to develop a more intense flavor. And in the case of the Blue Mountains, we’re talking about 4,000 feet. At this altitude, unique soil and climate create perfect conditions for growing high-quality beans.
Medium-roasted, this specialty coffee is creamy, with prominent undertones of smooth chocolate. The flavor profile is really balanced and works well on its own but also with milk.
Now, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee comes with a rather high price tag, so it might not be for everyday drinking. But that comes as no surprise, given that it’s peaberry coffee.
Stumptown Hair Bender Coffee
What I like about Stumptown is that there’s a blend for practically anyone, no matter how you like your coffee. And this particular blend is one of the brand’s most popular options, for a good reason.
Stumptown combines coffee beans from Latin America, Indonesia and Africa. And that way, it struck just the right amount of uniqueness. This coffee has a rather complex flavor profile with undernotes of sweet citrus, dark chocolate, and raisin.
The coffee is sold in the standard packaging of 12 ounces, as well as 5 pounds for those hard-core drinkers. You can get it as a one-time purchase or choose a subscription option if you want to drink it regularly.
It comes in a paper bag, which is both recyclable and compostable. While I really like the zero-waste aspect, I’m not thrilled with how thin the material is. It seems it can easily get damaged during shipping.
Koa 100% Waialua Estate Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee
I’m sure you’ve heard about Kona coffee, but that’s actually not the only coffee-growing region in Hawaii. The island of Oahu might not be that well-known in the world of coffee, but the product is definitely worth recognition.
Once covered with fields of sugarcane and pineapple, the North Shore of Oahu is now home to a small coffee farm. At 700 feet above sea level, the volcanic soil and mild climate are perfect conditions for growing coffee.
This single-origin Koa coffee has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, low acidity and a gentle mouthfeel. It’s very fragrant, with hints of cocoa and light chocolate. Great on its own, but it’s even more delicious when paired with milk.
This coffee comes in an 8-ounce bag, which is the perfect size for most coffee drinkers. The bag features a tin tie for resealing, but I don’t recommend keeping your coffee in the bag. The tin tie simply can’t keep it airtight, so your beans will go stale faster.
Lifeboost Dark Roast Decaf
Many decaf products tend to taste somewhat bland compared to caffeinated versions. But that’s not the case with Lifeboost. Decaffeinated using the Swiss water method, the coffee beans retain their original flavor and aroma.
Like other Lifeboost coffee, this decaf is single-origin. The beans are grown on the same farm in the tropical mountains of Nicaragua. High altitude and rich soil cause the beans to grow slower and more concentrated in flavor.
This is dark roast coffee, so it’s heavy in both body and intensity. It’s slightly dry but also sweet, with undernotes of cocoa and chocolate. This is the perfect roast for espresso and Moka pot, but you can definitely use it for other brewing methods as well.
I like that you can get this coffee as whole beans or preground, depending on whether you own a grinder or not.
Now, what I don’t like is the high price. I get that you’re paying more for it being both decaf and single-origin. But if you’re drinking a lot of decaf on a regular basis, the cost really adds up.
Volcanica Eterno Espresso Pods
Nespresso OriginalLine pods are great, but the selection is somewhat limited – especially in the case of intense flavors. If that’s the case with you, I’m happy to introduce you to these pods by the Volcanica coffee brand.
The brand is known for amazing single-origin coffee, and that’s the case here as well. The pods contain coffee grown in the mountain regions of Costa Rica. The combination of volcanic soil, elevation, and moist climate are ideal conditions for growing coffee.
Costa Rican coffee is naturally bright, fruity, and very aromatic. These pods make a decent espresso, but there’s little crema. They’re much better as a base for milk-based drinks. In fact, the brand itself recommends using them for making lattes or cappuccinos.
Just like regular Nespresso pods, these capsules are also recyclable. You can enjoy the convenience of using pods without leaving waste behind. What’s not to love about that?
I also like that you can subscribe and get them delivered on schedule. That way, you can never run out of them.
Illy Arabica Selection Guatemala Whole Bean Coffee
If you prefer your coffee with a more “classic” flavor profile, then this coffee Arabica by Illy might be up your alley.
Guatemalan coffee is typically full-bodied, moderately acidic, and simply delicious. That’s also the case with this coffee as well.
Grown in the shade high up in the mountains, the beans can take their time to thrive. This results in an intense flavor profile.
In the case of this coffee, you get a strong, sweet, and medium-bodied cup of java with notes of chocolate, caramel, and honey. However, it’s not very caffeinated, so don’t expect to keep you up for hours.
I’m a big fan of Illy packaging. Coffee comes in a can made of tinplate, which is basically steel coated with tin. This material is rustproof, lightweight, durable, and, most importantly, recyclable.
After you finish the can, you can reuse the packaging for coffee, candies, buttons – you name it. And once you don’t need it, you can do the most environmentally friendly thing and recycle it.
It’s also worth noting that the can is filled with nitrogen before being sealed. Nitrogen keeps the air out and prevents coffee from going stale until opened.
Lavazza Gran Riserva Whole Bean Coffee
I know, I’m cheating a bit by adding this coffee to this list as it contains Robusta. But the thing is – there’s only 20% of Robusta coffee beans added, and not without reason.
Robusta varieties from Kaapi Royale and Java are responsible for the heavy body and slightly intense flavor. A selection of Arabica from Central and South America, on the other hand, gives the coffee a velvety finish and undernotes of maple syrup and walnut.
Together, these varieties ensure what you’re drinking is well-balanced and rounded, without any bitterness to it.
This is one of the brand’s signature espresso roasts, but you can definitely use it for other brewing methods as well. Given its intensity, it’s best for concentrated coffee, like one made with a Moka pot or French press.
I must say, I’m not thrilled by the large 2.2-pound packaging. If you’re the only coffee drinker in your household, it will take a while to reach the bottom of the bag. And by that time, the beans might lose some of their flavor and aroma.
Lifeboost Gingerbread Latte Whole Bean Coffee
Who doesn’t like their coffee a bit more festive during the holiday season? And what says more festive than a gingerbread latte?
This coffee by Lifeboost is a holiday classic. It’s very aromatic, with notes of freshly ground cinnamon, sweet molasses, and spicy ginger. And given we’re talking about single-origin coffee, all these flavors are even more pronounced.
It’s also worth noting that Lifeboost only uses natural flavors. This means you know exactly what goes into your cup. Oh, and those flavors add no sugar or calories, so you can enjoy your coffee stress-free.
To make sure what the label says is correct, this coffee is 3rd party tested for mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides + 400 other toxins. So rest assured that you’re drinking a very fine product.
Of course, premium coffee comes at a premium price. The price tag is my big issue with the brand. But at least it’s good to know you can save up by using a subscription plan or buying in bulk.
Illy Classico Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee
There’s nothing exceptionally unique about this blend. This is a classic coffee you’d want in your espresso.
Roasted to medium level, this coffee has a lingering sweetness with undernotes of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine. This flavor profile is achieved by combining Arabica beans grown in multiple regions around the world.
While primarily made with espresso in mind, the taste and aroma of this coffee do work rather well with other brewing methods as well. Namely, they’re really suitable for French press and drip as well.
Of course, that’s due to the fact that this coffee comes in whole beans. That allows you to grind it however you want, depending on the preferred brewing method.
Now, don’t expect a good energy kick from this coffee. Illy makes coffee in three different intensity levels, and this is the lowest one available. The actual amount of caffeine isn’t disclosed anywhere, but it’s clear from the first sip that this is not a very strong coffee.
Stumptown Hundred Mile Coffee
This coffee by Stumptown is a typical breakfast blend. It’s intense enough to wake you up in the morning but still very smooth and balanced.
Roasted to a medium level, this blend of Arabica beans makes a rather rich-bodied cup of coffee. It’s also slightly crisp, with distinctive notes of apple jam and toffee. Just keep in mind that if you don’t like sharp coffee, it might be too acidic for you.
Personally, I find this blend to work best with pour-over and drip coffee makers. These brewing methods really let the unique flavor profile shine.
However, that’s not to say you can’t use it for other methods as well. Since it’s sold as whole beans, you can grind this coffee however you want.
Given that the bag features a one-way valve, that’s a clear sign that coffee is packed right after roasting. This ensures it stays fresh until it reaches your hands. I do wish the bag was made of slightly thicker material, as paper can easily rupture if not handled properly.
Things to Consider When Buying Arabica Coffee
Given that 60% of produced coffee is Arabica, buying the best of the variety does seem like quite a task. To make your job a bit easier, here are a few things you should know if you want to choose the best coffee beans for you.
What are arabica coffee beans?
Did you know that there are anywhere between 25 and 100 species of coffee plants in the world?
However, mainly two of them are used in the commercial coffee industry – Arabica and Robusta.
And between the two, the Arabica coffee bean is much more prevalent, making up around 60% of the world’s production.
Arabica beans have their preferences when it comes to growing. They prefer:
- Temperatures between 59°F and 75°F
- 1,900+ feet elevations
For that reason, this coffee variety is typically grown in subtropical regions around the equator. Creatively, the area is named the coffee belt.
Now, don’t let the name confuse you. Arabica bean variety doesn’t originate from the Arabian peninsula. It was merely the place where it first became popular for its taste and effects. That’s right, Arab scholars loved the way this drink energized them and allowed them to work longer.
But Arabica coffee isn’t well-known for its caffeine content – given that Robusta has a much higher amount of caffeine.
Arabica is known and loved for its balanced, slightly sweet flavor with pleasant acidity. As far as flavor profile goes, that’s mainly affected by the bean origin as well as the level of roast.
Ground coffee vs whole beans – which is better?
In terms of freshness, whole beans always win. You see, the oils that coat the bean are responsible for giving coffee its flavor and aroma. Once you grind the beans, these oils start evaporating and slowly losing intensity.
Ideally, you want to grind your coffee beans right before brewing.
But of course, that’s not always possible. Grinding takes time and effort, and sometimes we’re on a too-tight daily schedule for that.
Or maybe you don’t even own a grinder!
In any case, these are all valid reasons for buying your coffee pre-ground.
However, if you do, don’t buy a large batch. It’s best to buy a bag that you can easily go through in no longer than a week. Well, unless you are a huge coffee lover who drinks tanks of coffee every day.
The difference between bulk buying vs small batch
When it comes to groceries and home supplies, I definitely prefer buying in bulk so that I don’t have to hit the store that often.
But that’s not the case with coffee, for the same reason I mentioned above – freshness.
Now, regardless of whether your coffee is preground or whole beans, it will go stale.
And there’s no packaging in the world to prevent that.
However, some do manage to prolong the freshness.
One way is to fill the packaging with nitrogen, replacing air. Without oxygen, the beans stay fresh for much, much longer. I’m talking months, not weeks.
So if the packaging is nitrogen-flushed, then you can buy a bulk that will last you a good while.
Bulk buying is also handy if your household members drink coffee as religiously as you. In that case, you’ll go through the bulk much faster.
To Sum Things Up
Making up more than 60% of the coffee industry, most blends and single-origin coffee on the market consist of Arabica beans.
But among them, Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans are the best Arabica coffee beans.
Because it’s single-origin, you can really feel the individual delicate notes of this coffee. Coming from the same farm also means that you can easily trace the product from bean to cup, which ensures quality.
You can get it as whole beans or preground, depending on your preference. In any case, you’ll go through the bag rather fast because it’s that delicious.
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